As worries about China grow, Biden and Narendra Modi seek to strengthen US-India relations.

Amid shared worries about a more aggressive China, climate change, artificial intelligence, and international supply chains, the presidents have sought to strengthen the relationship between the United States and India.
The bond between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is undoubtedly being cultivated over time.

Biden will arrive in New Delhi on Friday, the day before the Group of 20 meeting there, to fit in another round of one-on-one talks with Modi, who was honored with a state visit to the White House less than three months ago.

Since 2021, the leaders have met more than a dozen times in person or virtually as they have both sought to strengthen the U.S.-India alliance in light of their common major concerns. These include China’s rising assertiveness and the enormous difficulties brought on by climate change, artificial intelligence, the robustness of the global supply chain, and other problems.

The conference has been strongly marketed as Modi’s. Pictures of the Indian prime minister greeting G20 participants and quoting the need of addressing climate change are displayed along the roadway leading from the airport. As a result, when Biden meets with his Indian counterpart, he will essentially be a house guest.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on board Air Force One, “This meeting will take place at the prime minister’s residence — so it is unusual in that respect.” The meetings taking held in the prime minister’s office are not conventional for a bilateral visit to India.

A conservative Hindu nationalist like Modi and a center-left Democrat like Biden are hardly ideological twins. However, the military and economic machinations of China in the Indo-Pacific are gradually bringing the two leaders together.

India raised a concern about China’s new map standard, which claims Indian territory along their shared border, late last month and communicated that concern to Beijing through diplomatic channels.

The Doklam Plateau, the subject of a long-running dispute between China and India, as well as Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin in the western region that China controls but which India still claims, are all included on the Chinese map that was released on the website of the Ministry of Natural Resources. Protests over the new Chinese map have also been made in the Philippines and Malaysia.

The chart was made public two days after Modi and Xi Jinping, the president of China, met on the margins of a summit of the BRICS group of developing nations, which includes South Africa, Brazil, Russia, India, and China. At their meeting, they promised to strive to defuse tensions along their disputed border.

Since 2020, when skirmishes resulted in the first lethal fighting in decades, China and India have had thousands of troops engaged in combat in a disputed Himalayan region. Both nations possess nuclear weapons.

The G20 member China has announced that Xi will not attend this weekend’s summit in India and that Premier Li Qiang would be sent in Xi’s place.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris voiced her opposition to China’s new map on the sidelines of a conference of Southeast Asian leaders in Indonesia.

Beyond Biden, the US government extends its outreach. The G20 is her fourth trip to India in the past year, which is the nation she has visited the most, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who spoke to reporters on Friday. India, according to Yellen, has demonstrated leadership in helping to offer loans to developing countries as well as debt relief when necessary.

What, if any, significant announcements will result from Biden’s most recent discussions with Modi have not been made public, according to the White House. However, the administration appears anxious to capitalize on the momentum created by the state visit in June, which included large private sector projects as well as announcements on the environment, healthcare, and space.

The two parties laid the foundation for General Electric in the United States to collaborate with Hindustan Aeronautics in India to develop jet engines for Indian aircraft there as well as the sale of armed MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones made in the United States. A $2.75 billion semiconductor assembly and testing facility will be built in India by the American company Micron Technology, with India funding the remaining $1.25 billion. Additionally, the administration intends to talk about civil nuclear issues.

The Friday meeting is not expected to result in as many significant deals. Still, Richard Rossow, a senior adviser at the Center for International and Strategic Studies, anticipated that the White House will try to “put something on the table.”

According to Rossow, “the United States has an excessive focus on Taiwan, the South China Sea, the East China Sea, and the Pacific Islands,” which is what India is worried about. “And the Indian Ocean region receives far too little attention. India now sees that as the main source of its security concerns.

The White House has attempted to downplay the disagreements between Biden and Modi about Russia’s conflict in Ukraine. India refused to join the international alliance against Russia and did not participate in the voting on U.N. resolutions denouncing Russia. The Modi administration has significantly increased its purchases of Russian oil since the commencement of the conflict.

Concern from activists and some American lawmakers about India’s human rights record under Modi’s leadership have cast a shadow on Biden’s efforts to bring India closer.

Modi has come under fire for legislation amending the nation’s citizenship law that expedites naturalization for some immigrants but bars Muslims, for a rise in violence committed by Hindu nationalists against Muslims and other religious minorities, and for Rahul Gandhi’s recent conviction for making fun of Modi’s surname.

Journalists have been detained in recent years, and some are prevented from leaving the country. Numerous people are being investigated for crimes, including sedition. Additionally, the government has passed extensive regulations for social media businesses that give it additional authority to control online content.


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